Age: 50 Years
Hometown: Amritsar, Punjab
Marital Status: Unmarried
Some Lesser Known Facts About Vikas Khanna
- Vikas was born with Club Foot, a condition in which the leg bones are not aligned properly at the joint and can look as if they have been turned sideways. Because of this condition, he could not walk until the age of 13.
- Due to the above condition, Vikas couldn’t move around and thus had to spend most of his time in the kitchen, where his grandmother would be cooking meals for the family. Seeing her Grandmother cooking food, Vikas developed an interest in the same.
- Inspired by his brother, Vikas first decided to take up Engineering, but later dropped the idea owing to his poor mathematical skills.
- At the age of 17, Vikas established a small Banquet hall named Lawrence Gardens, where he served both as an organizer and a caterer for small kitty parties and family functions.
- After spending a few years as a chef in India, Vikas immigrated to USA to pursue further courses in Hospitality. For this purpose, he attended the Cornell University & the New York University.
- Initially, he struggled to make a mark in US. Despite working as a waiter and gaining the required experience, the chances to enter the kitchen were looking bleak for him. At one point, he had made his mind to return to India but stars had something else in store for him. In an interview, while explaining this, he said that he had heard someone talking about a requirement of 300 portions of any appetiser. Responding to the requirement, he cooked and took the Gujarati dish, Dhokla, to the specified address of a restaurant. The owner of the place was so impressed by him, that he was instantly offered the post of executive chef at the Salaam Bombay Restaurant, New York.
- In 2006, Vikas featured in Gordon Ramsay’s famous American Television series named Kitchen Nightmares.
- On 2nd December 2009, he started a restaurant by the name of Junoon in Flatiron District of Manhattan.
- Junoon has been awarded a Michelin star by the Michelin Guide for 5 consecutive years since 2010. Michelin Guide is the oldest European hotel and restaurant reference guide, which awards Michelin stars for excellence to a select few establishments; the acquisition or loss of a star can have dramatic effects on the success of a restaurant.
- Interestingly, Vikas has co-hosted 3 consecutive seasons of Master Chef India- from 2nd to 4th season.
- In May 2012, Vikas cooked for a fundraiser hosted for President Obama at the Rubin Museum of Artin, New York.
- He is the goodwill ambassador of the Smile Foundation, a foundation aimed at making people aware about the causes and consequences of malnutrition.
- Vikas once turned down a role offered by Bollywood Film-maker Karan Johar, stating that the culinary field will always be his priority.
- He has featured in the Sexiest Man Alive list of the People’s Magazine. Also, the New York Eater blog voted him as New York’s hottest chef in 2011.
- He is also the founder of Cooking for Life and SAKIV Organizations, which host gastronomic events around the world in support of different relief efforts and awareness issues.
- Vikas has authored a number of books like The Spice Story of India, Modern India Cooking, Flavors First, Utsav, etc.